Sanofi Pasteur opens new Shantha vax plant in India


Sanofi ($SNY) may be struggling in a number of areas, but its Sanofi Pasteur vaccine unit continues to produce, and now it has a new plant in India to give the unit a further boost.

Sanofi Pasteur reported last week that its Indian division, Shantha Biotechnics, has begun commercial manufacturing at a new plant near Hyderabad. It said the facility is awaiting approvals from the World Health Organization and Indian regulators.

Dr. Shailesh Ayyangar, managing director of Sanofi India, said in an announcement that the facility is part of the INR 5500 crore ($818.7 million) investment that Sanofi has made in Shantha Biotechnics since acquiring it in 2009.  

Sanofi started work on the the 19,000-square-meter (204,514-square-foot) facility in 2010. The company said the new filling facility will manufacture vaccines against a number of diseases but will begin with Sanofi’s Shan5, a pediatric pentavalent vaccine used against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib and hepatitis B.

That is the same vaccine that ran into manufacturing problems in 2010, shortly after Sanofi bought Shantha for $775 million. Shantha had to pull the vaccine from the market and Sanofi Pasteur manufacturing experts were called in to help get the operation back on its feet. In 2014, Shantha’s initial plant in Hyderabad was again approved by WHO officials and the company won a tender to provide 37 million doses of Shan5 in 2015 and 2016.

In its Q1 report, the French drugmaker reported that sales in its vaccine division were up 8.2% to €625 million ($719 million), driven by increased sales for polio, pertussis and Hib vaccines in emerging markets and Menactra's performance in the U.S. That came despite battling Pentacel supply constraints in the U.S., where overall vaccine sales were down 17.3%.

- here’s the release

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